Republican Ed Gillespie, who is running for governor of Virginia against Democrat Ralph Northam, is being criticized for portraying MS-13 members as "heavily tattooed Latino men" who want to "KILL, RAPE, CONTROL."
From Yahoo News:
Ed Gillespie often insists that the gubernatorial election in Virginia should mainly be a dialogue about the deeply researched policy papers he’s put out on seemingly every topic under the sun.
And while that may be true, the Republican’s campaign might be best known at this point for a series of TV ads in which photos of heavily tattooed Latino men are displayed as the words “KILL, RAPE, CONTROL” flash across the screen.
“That ad has aired, to my knowledge, far more than any other ad,” said political sage Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “I see it several times a day in flipping through channels.”
This of course implies Republican Gillespie is running racist, fear mongering campaign advertisements about Latinos. Here are the facts:
-MS-13 members are heavily tattooed and are typically of El Salvadorian or Guatemalan descent
-MS-13 is one of the most violent transnational street gangs in the world with 6000-10,000 members operating in 42 of 50 states
-Virginia has been suffering from a rash of MS-13 violence, including rape and murder
The FBI defines MS-13 as the following:
Members of Mara Salvatrucha, better known as MS-13, who are mostly Salvadoran nationals or first generation Salvadoran-Americans, but also Hondurans, Guatemalans, Mexicans, and other Central and South American immigrants. And according to our recent national threat assessment of this growing, mobile street gang, they could be operating in your community...now or in the near future.
Based on information from our own investigations, from our state and local law enforcement partners, and from community organizations, we’ve concluded that while the threat posed by MS-13 to the U.S. as a whole is at the “medium” level, membership in parts of the country is so concentrated that we’ve labeled the threat level there “high.”
MS-13 members engage in a wide range of criminal activity, including drug distribution, murder, rape, prostitution, robbery, home invasions, immigration offenses, kidnapping, carjackings/auto thefts, and vandalism. Most of these crimes, you’ll notice, have one thing in common—they are exceedingly violent. And while most of the violence is directed toward other MS-13 members or rival street gangs, innocent citizens often get caught in the crossfire.
In other words, they are a serious threat to American communities because they kill, rape and control, just as Gillespie's ad says. Virginians are seeing the ad more than any other because MS-13 is dominate in many parts of the state. Gillespie wants to change that.
Meanwhile, Ralph Northam has erased his black running mate from all campaign literature. Maybe the media should focus on that real racism.